Monday, January 21, 2008

D.C. eats

It was really nice to kick back and relax at my mom's house for a week after coming back from L.A. Not only did we get to unwind from traveling and milk the last few days of our school break, but we also got to eat really well.

** Before I go any further, I want to take this opportunity to thank my mom, who watched our cats Bijou and Marble for us while we traveled. Without her help, we would never be able to go anywhere, due to Bijou's diabetes, which necessitates 2 insulin shots every day. Thanks, mom! We love you! **

First up, our meet-up! Daiku and I got to meet Mary from Pickled Treats Last Longer and Bofiek from the PPK at Java Green restaurant. Mary and I have been visiting each other's blogs for at least a year, so this was a real treat.

Java Gren's menu was an awesome combination of vegan Korean and American goodness- I don't remember the last time I had Korean food!

From top to bottom, Daiku got the spicy noodle soup, Mary got the Jobche noodles with tofu, Bofiek got the tofu and avocado wrap, and I got the bulgogi and kimchi. My plate came with bulgogi (beef BBQ with a sweet sauce), rice, noodles with veggies, and a huge hunk of kimchi. It was wonderful- spicy and tingly, just as kimchi should be.

Here's the group- Daiku, me, Mary, and Bofiek. You'll notice that everyone looks nice and normal, but my face is mysteriously blurred!

During our meal, DJ Kim, the owner of the restaurant came around and spoke to us. He was so nice and friendly, and interested in learning more about all of us. I can't believe I'd never been to this restaurant before- I will definitely go back next time I'm in the area.

We took some dessert to go- after browsing all the tempting sweets on offer, we chose this slice of sweet potato pie from Sweet-n-Natural.

It was so good- fresh and spicy. My mom loved it, too.

I did some baking at my mom's place. I wanted to make something for my uncle, and since he loves coconut, I decided to go for the coconut custard pie from My Sweet Vegan. Because my mom doesn't bake very much, there weren't that many baking dishes or ingredients in the house, so I decided to take a shortcut and use a prepared chocolate pie crust from Whole Foods. Above you see the pie fresh out of the oven- it filled the house with such an intoxicating aroma!

And here is a close-up of the pie after being topped with some shredded coconut. As tempting as it was to steal a slice before delivering it to my uncle, I didn't- so I didn't get to taste this pie! But my uncle, who got it the day after we left, made sure to tell us that it was excellent and he really liked it- yay!

After baking this pie, I had half a box of silken tofu and part of a can of coconut milk left over. I knew that my mom wouldn't use them up and they might go to wase, so I tried to come up with an idea of what to do with them. Then it hit me:

Brownies! There was a box of brownie mix in my mom's cupboard which was vegan, but called for 2 eggs (in addition to 2/3 cup oil and 1/4 cup water) to make. I used 1/2 box (6 oz.) extra firm silken tofu, 1/3 cup coconut milk, and 1/3 cup oil, and I omitted the water, since coconut milk is waterier than oil. I blended these together in a food processor, and then stirred them into the brownie mix. I sprinkled the batter with some walnuts, baked as directed, about 5-10 minutes longer than called for, and voilà! Veganized brownies from a box!

Daiku and I always try to grab some Ethiopian food when we travel, since there are no Ethiopian restaurants in Syracuse. My mom wanted to go out and hear some jazz. The Sunday night before we were supposed to leave, we found a way to do both of these things!

Twins Jazz is a jazz club and Ethiopian restaurant in one - crazy combination, right? But it was an awesome experience. Above, you see the vegetarian platter that we shared: yellow split peas, collard greens, and cabbage, along with yummy injera bread. Usually, there is a pretty hefty cover charge at Twins, but Sunday night are jam sessions, so we got in for free and got to hear several hours of really cool improv by various musicians. Food, drink, music, and good company, what more could you ask for?

Finally, some random cuteness:

Here are Marble (back) and Bijou (front) chilling at my mom's house. Even though they each had a carrier, they would take turns using just one. When one of them was inside the carrier, the other would just sleep outside. They were really comfortable there.

And here's the newest addition to our extended family- Nike, a Shiba Inu puppy that my cousin just got. He is only 15 weeks old in this photo, and one of the nicest, cuddliest, friendliest puppies I've seen in a long time- it was so fun to play with him!

That's it for the travel stories, folks! I'm thinking of posting a list of all the restaurants I visited over the last month, along with websites and contact info., so that you can all be well-fed whether your travels take you to Southern California or Washington D.C.! Stay tuned.

Restaurant Info:

Java Green
1020 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 775-8899
Fax: 202 315-3485

Twins Jazz
1344 U. St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: ( 202) 234-0072
Fax: (301) 445-4363



Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Jet Set Vegans! woo.
We have a jazz club / Ethiopian restaurant in San Francisco. Random!
Cute animals!

VeggieGirl said...

aww, I love the "thank you" to your mom, as well as the photos of you and your family, as well as Marble, Bijou and Nike - what a great new addition to your extended family!! and thanks for the contact information for the restaurants, as always :0)

and I must say, that is the most vibrantly orange-hued sweet potato pie that I have ever seen, haha.

Okra Mary said...

That sweet potato pie was soooo good! I ate my leftovers at my friend's house that night (since, ya know, they were eating elk chili!) and almost ate the entire thing on my own.

It was great meeting you as well - we'll have to do it again!

Ashasarala said...

Wow, it looks like you've been having an amazing time. All the food looks so good, and what a great idea to make the brownie mix!

I have to say, that's really awesome that the kitties love sleeping in the cat carrier. Most cats run the second they see the thing being pulled out. You're lucky!

My cousin has a Shiba Inu! She's about to turn 1 and she's the most hyper doggie I've seen in a while, but so adorable.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

What would we do without our moms? And sweet potato pie--it looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Yay, I'm so glad that the pie was enjoyed!

bazu said...


my cats freak out when they have to travel in their carriers, too! I've found that if I leave the carriers out at all times, they treat them like beds, and therefore freak out (a bit) less when it's time to go places in them!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I didn't get to go to Java Green the last time I was in D.C. Your post has only heightened my desire to get there on a future trip.

Kittee said...

holy crap bazooo.
i can't believe there's a jazz and ethiopian place in DC and I've never been. i just ran into the other room and complained bitterly to dazee about it. i hope it was good!


Theresa said...

bazu, I'm not sure that 'milking the last few days of vacation' is very vegan... ;P

All the food looks fabulous, but I'm the most jealous of the Ethiopian restaurant experience, I think. Injera is so freaking good, especially paired with perfectly spiced ethiopian bean and veggie dishes!

Melody Polakow said...

Your cats are adorable... it's great your parents can take care of them for you.

Lucky you.. another blogger meetup! I'm jealous!

and the food looks great too.

Rachael said...

those pies look great and the cat/puppy are adorable. I love shiba inus.

Catherine said...


I left you a waffle recipe in the comments on my blog!


P.S. VERY jealous of all of your travels, adventures, wonderful food, and time off/away! How lucky to be able to relax for days and days!

Chris said...

Would you be interested in being part of a testgroup to try 4 new PROBAR flavors. That means free vegan energy bars for you! E-mail me at probarfeedback [at] Gmail [dot] com. Thanks

the little one said...

Thanks so much for the Ethiopian restaurant recommendation. I've had Ethiopian in D.C. several times but never have heard of that place. Glad to hear your travels were so great.

cristy said...

It sounds like the DC vegan food scene has improved a lot since I lived there (in the mid-90s) - although the Ethiopian food was always great in Adams Morgan.

Your post has made me hungry - especially for brownies and sweet potato pie.

textual bulldog said...

Mmm, everything looks wondeful, but the noodle soup and the ethopian platter are especially tempting to me right now. this most made me realize just how long it has been since i had ethopian... way way waaaay too long!

aTxVegn said...

I love that you found jazz + Ethiopian food! I just went to an Ethiopian restaurant and bought some of their berebere spice mix. I think you have some recipes posted using berebere, so I'm going to search here and see what I can find.

Welcome home!

Veg*Triathlete said...

I'm glad you had such great travels, Bazu! Welcome home - I look forward to lots of good vegan homecooking :-)

Sarah C. said...

I want a jazz club/Ethiopian restaurant! Sounds awesome. Hope the semester is starting well for you.

Since you're the bread expert (I asked you some inane question a while back about your favorite baking tomes and you kindly responded), and since the Urban Vegan just inspired me with her list of $$-saving ideas (particularly #1, "bake your own bread"), I wanted to ask if you have a good entry-level ww bread recipe that you rely on. Something for sandwiches that wouldn't take too much effort but is still good. Any thoughts?

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Hoo boy, we love Ethiopian at my house! Bread question/answer for Sarah - I just use one from King Arthur's flour baking cookbook and do it by hand! Sooo much easier than you think! and soooo addictively good. Good luck!

Marie said...

I hope you make it out to Albuquerque sometime, my newly veggie parents are having a hard time figuring out what to eat around here.

bazu said...

Hi Sarah C.,

I have to admit, I don't make soft sandwich bread very often. One of my favorite whole wheat breads was the one Peace, Love, and Veganism mentioned- from a recipe on the back of King Arthur's whole wheat flour. I think I blogged about it once last year. I've also had good luck with whole spelt flour with baking- my love of spelt is no big secret, though!

Amey said...

I finally get to look at your blog! Last time I tried to check it from an internet cafe here in India, all the pictures made the whole computer crash! ha ha!

This weekend I'm at a hotel with actual internet access, so I actually get to look. Except now I am just so dang hungry for something besides Indian food!!! :)

I love the new Shiba Inu! One of my most favorite of all dog breeds. I'll tell you, it's so nice to see pictures of some happy and loved and pampered animals... a sight for sore eyes after seeing most of the dogs and cats here in India. I miss my furry friends big time!

also, I can't wait to get my hands on My Sweet Vegan. It'll be one of my top priorites upon returning home! I'm sure I'll be eating like a ravenous monster!


Carrie™ said...

How cool that you got to meet fellow bloggers! It's amazing how so many of us from all over have connected. Daiku's soup looks AMAZING! As does your coconut pie and BROWNIES!
Animal photos are always a bit hit. Awwww! They both look adorable. Sounds like you had a very full & fun holiday.

Carrie™ said...

How cool that you got to meet fellow bloggers! It's amazing how so many of us from all over have connected. Daiku's soup looks AMAZING! As does your coconut pie and BROWNIES!
Animal photos are always a bit hit. Awwww! They both look adorable. Sounds like you had a very full & fun holiday.

dreamy said...

The Ethiopian food looks amazing, I have never really seen what's ethiopian food. I love the way the cats laze ard :)

Anonymous said...

ahhh, DC. How I long to take the bus to my choice of vegan friendly and vegan restaurants!
Glad you had a great time.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

fun! the Korean food looks lovely. and boy does that sweet potato pie look divine!

Sarah C. said...

Thanks, Bazu and Peace! I'll check that recipe out (I have a bag now, so it won't be hard!). I love spelt, too. In fact, I think things get better with spelt flour (over all white flour). mmmm.....grainy goodness!
Sarah C.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Sounds like you and Daiku had a great time in D.C.! Jazz and Ethiopian restaurant in one... how cool!

Amy said...

I'm glad you had fun visiting "my" city! Next time you'll have to go to Sticky Fingers (all vegan) bakery in Columbia Heights, and to Vegetate restaurant or the vegan brunch at Asylum!